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Poster: charwhee Date: Dec 1, 2015 3:13pm
Forum: sflan Subject: Re: Is anyone still involved with Richmond network?

That Would Be Great

char
whee
at
g
mail
.
com

Thanks!

Charlie

Reply [edit]

Poster: prendiville Date: Dec 1, 2015 3:31pm
Forum: sflan Subject: Re: Is anyone still involved with Richmond network?

Emailed.

Here's what I sent in case anyone else is interested:

Hey there,
So I basically just had to piece together the following info over a couple months, but it does work. There are some slowdowns around predictably peak times (Sunday nights especially) but so far no outages.
I'm just going to paste a long post I made before on a neighborhood network (Nextdoor North and East). Provided you are tech savvy, you should be able to get all the info required from the links and videos.
But let me know if you have any specific questions.
Thanks,
Ryan

P.S. I'm unaffiliated with IA.

Posted October 7th:

Here's what I know so far, with the caveat that some of this is just theory.

I don't think "coverage" is really the best way to think of this. It doesn't setup for broad reception like cell or radio. If I go stand next to the Auditorium there is a very weak open wifi network with a name likeap214.archive.org. So while there might be an open wifi "cloud" on the site, the equipment and signal origin is likely on the roof. You'll need to point a directional antenna at the source. This is why the network is described as Roof2Roof, and it depends mostly on line of sight.

I talked to one volunteer with the project providing service to Atchison Village, and he is trying to confirm more details about the Civic Auditorium equipment. I'm basing the fact that there is an access point at all largely on this article: http://richmondconfidential.org/2013/11/07/citywide-free-internet-unlikely-soon-but-planners-hopeful/

That would make three known towers/access points by my count, with the addition of:
The original tower by Carlson and Florida at the Internet archive building. (https://blog.archive.org/2013/05/08/free-and-fast-roof2roof-internet-available-in-richmond-ca/)
Relay equipment on the hillside of Point Richmond. (https://archive.org/post/1009995/additional-dish-and-amp-panels-installed)

In theory, with the right equipment and an clear line of sight you could connect to these points. General info about the project and how that works is here if you haven't checked it out: https://archive.org/web/sflan.php

What is the right equipment? For a single home (Tier 3 on the above page) Internet Archive recommends the following: https://blog.archive.org/recommended-devices-for-community-wireless-access/


For a practical example of how a similar system works, I would check out the following post and accompanying video:
http://www.outsideourbubble.com/secure-private-rv-wi-fi-and-making-a-better-park-connection-for-under-100

I have the recommended equipment on order, and am a block away from a possible access point, so If it works for me I'll let people know. Unless you're really eager, or have a line of site of the original tower on Florida, I wouldn't jump the gun.

It can be slightly frustrating that there isn't more information about the program, remember that it is a free service ran by people who are largely volunteering their time. Based on this post, I take it that they are supporting the infrastructure and trying to prevent outages, but not available for instruction or support services:
https://blog.archive.org/2015/01/20/community-wireless/

Followup on Oct 18th:

I'm set up now. Did a speed test on my phone and download speed was around 6mbps. Seems good.

I used the equipment I linked to in the post above.

Setting up the software is more challenging than necessary as the hardware has a lot of possible options. But if you follow the directions in the RV guy's video also linked to above exactly, it is easily done. Temporarily setting your computer to a static ip address was the only extra part I needed to look up.

The attached photo [REMOVED] shows the hardware mounted on my chimney pointing at the source which I believe is on the corner of the Civic Auditorium.

...

Another photo [REMOVED] showing the other tower, to the right, on the Internet archive building. Sorry if it's hard to see, it is very distant. I think I may actually have a third line of sight to the equipment on the hill side in Point Richmond as well, in case I ever need to move or reconfigure the antenna, but for now we'll see how this works.

...

[Someone asked about equipment again]

https://blog.archive.org/recommended-devices-for-community-wireless-access/

That's everything thing I'm using. Although I bought an unnecessarily long 100 ethernet cable.

If you watch the video I posted above, the RV guy walks you through every device and piece of the setup.

The loco device is setup as a router in the options, and can be connected to via an Ethernet cable. But once it's setup, you can disconnect and connect the air gateway module, which turns it into a wireless router. I think attritional hardware or errors are unnecessary.

If that's confusing, or in any case, watching the video has all the answers. I took it step by step when setting up.

October 19th

[someone asked for help getting set up]

Shannon, I'm located a couple blocks from Civic Center. if people have line of sight either from their roof or a window of their house for any of the three access point (Internet Archive building-definite, Civic Auditorium-definite, Point Richmond hillside-unconfirmed) and want to order the equipment I could advise and possibly help out with setup.

But I'd advise anyone interested to read all the links above and ESPECIALLY watch this tutorial video here:
http://www.outsideourbubble.com/secure-private-rv-wi-fi-and-making-a-better-park-connection-for-under-100

The most important thing probably for people to realize is that because this is a free service, there's no tech support, no guarantee of speed, and if it goes down it could be a while before it gets fixed.

It was working great last night, streaming video on a laptop while we were also connected to the wi-fi and checking smartphones. But I have no guarantee that it will be working when I get home tonight, and if it's not, there isn't anyone I can call and complain to.

Due to all that, if you want to use the service, you should probably be comfortable with being your own tech support if something goes wrong. I learned a lot setting mine up, and the more you can do by yourself the better off you probably are in the long run.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk more about it.

Reply [edit]

Poster: DrewD Date: Mar 2, 2016 3:37pm
Forum: sflan Subject: Re: Is anyone still involved with Richmond network?

Prendiville, thanks for your thoughtful and complete detail in the post above. I'm in the "North and East" neighborhood of Richmond, near the Wilson School and volunteer fire station. I'm about 1.18 miles from the Florida IA tower. (using this calculator:
https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm). I own a multi-story structure, one of the few in the entire area. I believe by the maps and guesstimates that I have a mostly clear line of sight.

I'm a pretty technical guy, I've built my own computers from scratch, not to be on the "bleeding edge," just for fun. I also caught some good gear on sale and set up a decent network on the cheap. This whole concept is curious to me. I'm interested in seeing if I can get a Tier 2 or 3 setup on the roof, as I think that would be the clearest line of sight (or perhaps the wall above the windows facing the tower). Problem is, I'll need help. I've never attempted anything like this before, it seems just out of reach. I've read up on it and can't quite get it. Can you assist? I have an open ended timeline.

I set this to notify me if / when someone replies to the thread.

Many thanks,

Drew

Reply [edit]

Poster: prendiville Date: Apr 13, 2016 12:53pm
Forum: sflan Subject: Re: Is anyone still involved with Richmond network?

Drew, sorry for the late response. Did you ever get set up? I'm not sure if I have much more to offer in terms of direction. I manage a connection, but do not get great speeds most of the time. Particularly at what I think are "peak" hours, the connection crawls down to almost being nonexistent.

It could be that the network is not able to keep up with demand in the area overall, or it could be that there is something wrong with my settings, but have no way of knowing. My experience is that there is not a lot of information sharing regarding the project. (Or I haven't found it.)

Forget streaming video or audio, I generally only use the network for kind of passive downloading files. Individual web pages often take a long time to load, or fail to the point of frustration. For anything work related, I go to the library, or tether a smart phone when I have that option.

I recently received a wifi security camera that I might install/try out relatively soon, which I'm guessing will necessitate going back to Comcast. I'd love to learn more about these networks and do whatever I could to help improve them, but it's beyond me at this point.